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A supportive and inclusive society in which all people have equal opportunity to live, thrive and enjoy the full benefits of belonging within their communities.

 
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To support individuals with mental health and cognitive challenges to live well within their communities.

 
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Thank you for the beautiful afternoon [at Cota’s 45th Anniversary Celebration Event]. I want to let you know that Cota’s tenants are the real inspiration to me. They totally rock! I also want to let you know that I am inspired by Cota’s team that work with Cota tenants every single day. Thank you for the invitation and for allowing me to share in such an inspiring day.
— Miriam Johnston (Manager Supportive Housing & Community Services Unit Mental Health and Addictions Branch Strategic Policy and Planning Division Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care)
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I have had the pleasure of being on Cota’s Board of Directors since 2014. Over the years, Cota has steadily evolved, keeping pace with changes in the health care environment, moving from strength to strength. Cota has launched new support programs (for example 220 Oak street), invested in its staff, achieved Accreditation with Exemplary Standing, celebrated it’s 45th anniversary with Inspiring Change Awards, all while providing excellent care and support day in and day out to our clients.

Today, Cota supports and provides services to more people than ever before, it is an active and trusted partner within the health care community, and it continues to innovate and take bold steps to reduce homelessness in Toronto.

I could not be more proud of Cota’s staff and leadership team for the work they do and what they’ve accomplished - it gives me great confidence in Cota’s future!

Carolyn Cornford (Board President, 2018)


Cota is pleased to share our 2018-19 Annual Report with you. This past year marked both our 45th anniversary and the mid-point of our 2016-19 Strategic Plan. As such, this report provides a brief retrospective look back at some of our recent accomplishments since 2016 and our plans to leap forward as we continue to inspire positive change through our work. At present, we are actively engaged in a number of service expansion and system transformation efforts. We remain eager to find new and innovative ways to improve service delivery to the people we support and to our community at large. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with our existing partners and the many new partnerships we hope to form in this regard.

We are very thankful for the tremendous efforts that all of our staff, volunteers and students put forth every single day to ensure that Cota provides our services to the highest possible standards and to our many supporters in the community.

Paul Bruce (Chief Executive Officer, Cota)

CAROLYN (LEFT) AND PAUL (RIGHT) | BOARD PRESIDENT AND CEO


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expanding our reach

 
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% of people served by population

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% of people served by service type

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% of supportive housing by population

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INSPIRING POSITIVE CHANGE

IN THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE WE SUPPORT

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SUMMARY OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS


As we were gathering ideas for our 2016-2021 Strategic Plan, we held a number of engagement sessions with Cota service users. Their input pointed to a desire for us to focus on the following areas of need/interest:

RENOVATED ROOM AT BAILEY HOUSE

RENOVATED ROOM AT BAILEY HOUSE


1. Enhancing access to good quality affordable and supportive housing. By “good quality” they meant a minimum standard of rooms with en-suite bathrooms or self-contained apartments

FOOD PROGRAM AT BAILEY HOUSE

FOOD PROGRAM AT BAILEY HOUSE


2. Improving access to food of enhanced nutritional value

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ART GROUP AT BAILEY HOUSE


3. Increasing opportunities for them to connect with other Cota service users in their local communities

In addition, we made commitments to (1) continue providing safe services, while ensuring a continued focus on the provision of safe services, and (2) enhanced client and family engagement within the organization.

CLIENT AND FAMILY ADVISORY COUNCIL

CLIENT AND FAMILY ADVISORY COUNCIL

Everyone has a different perspective but we often end up on the same page. And it’s like a light bulb goes off when a client says something and Cota picks up on it. I do feel like Cota is listening at this level.
— Elizabeth (Co-Chair, Client and Family Advisory Council)

The data that we are now able to gather through the introduction of the Ontario Perception of Care (OPOC) tool, the Ontario Common Assessment of Need (OCAN) tool, our internal occurrence reporting system combined with the valuable advice and guidance provided by our new Client and Family Advisory Council has proven to be extremely helpful in identifying areas for continuous quality improvement.

QUALITY AND RISK ASSESSMENT PRESENTATION

QUALITY AND RISK ASSESSMENT PRESENTATION

Cota will continue to work with our clients to strike the delicate balance between upholding client safety while respecting every individual’s right to live as they choose.
— Bobbi (Manager, Quality & Risk)

 
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50K+ meals served annually

Improved access to food and nutrition at Bailey House, Short-Term Residential Beds Program, and our ABI Adult Day Service


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created a client & family advisory council

Enhanced service user engagement within the organization by supporting and coordinating the development of a Client & Family Advisory Council


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conducted annual client safety analyses

Promoting client safety by conducting annual client safety prospective analyses and introducing risk prevention strategies


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43 net new supportive housing units

Exceeded initial target of net-new supportive housing units to be brought on stream


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successfully renovated bailey house

Bailey House now offers self-contained rooms with en-suite washrooms


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focused efforts on group offerings

Focused efforts to foster greater sense of community amongst clients through the introduction of local group offerings and Wellness Recovery Action Plan sessions


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implemented ontario perception of care tool (opoc)

Implemented the Ontario Perception of Care tool to gauge satisfaction with our services and monitor feedback to identify possible areas of improvement

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implemented our first quality improvement plan (QIP) in 2018

The QIP identifies targeted areas for improvement within the domains of safety, effectiveness, client centeredness, timeliness, and efficiency and can be found on our website.


 
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Focusing on Continuous Quality Improvement:

In the immediate future we will be following through with strategies to achieve the areas targeted for improvement within our existing 2018-19 QIP, which can be found on our website at: www.cotainspires.ca

In addition, we are beginning the process of reviewing OCAN, OPOC, our internal Occurrence Report data and health system data in order to identify possible areas for improvement within our next QIP, which we aim to produce in October 2019.

Acquiring and Developing Affordable/Supportive Housing Sites:

Given the present affordable housing crisis in Toronto and the critical role that a safe and affordable place to live plays as a social determinant of health, Cota will now begin focusing on creation of net new affordable and supportive housing opportunities through site acquisitions and new housing developments.

In doing so, we hope to create net new capacity to offer to the community, secure a new site for our existing Short-Term Residential Beds Program in Scarborough and identify opportunities to possibility relocate some of our existing supportive housing services to sites that better meet the needs and desires as expressed by our existing tenants.

 
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summary of accomplishments


It is no surprise that Cota’s continued success is the direct result of the hard work and dedication of our staff and that they are truly our most valuable asset. As such, we want to continue to do whatever we can to ensure that we equip our staff with the knowledge, skills, and ability to perform their various roles as efficiently and effectively as possible and at the highest standard of quality. Ultimately, our goal is for everyone at Cota to have a wonderful experience while they are here and to be able to honestly say that Cota is a great place to work.

MARCUS (RIGHT) | COLLEGEVIEW SUPPORTIVE STAFF

MARCUS (RIGHT) | COLLEGEVIEW SUPPORTIVE STAFF

I started at Cota 12 years ago and feel most fortunate to work in a program that allows each staff member to use their strengths in contributing to client care. Our team is large and each staff supports and encourages their colleagues in every way possible.
— Marcus (Supportive Housing Worker, Collegeview Program, Cota)

In 2017, we enlisted the support of AON Hewitt to conduct an internal survey to gauge how we are doing on this front. The survey gathers feedback relating to staff satisfaction across a number of areas and rolls up the results into an overall engagement score. While we are happy to report that this initial baseline survey resulted in Cota having an overall engagement score higher than the national average, we also looked at and identified areas for improvement. As such we subsequently created a work plan to address these lower-ranking areas.

MARY (LEFT) | HUMAN RESOURCES TEAM

MARY (LEFT) | HUMAN RESOURCES TEAM

Ensuring employees know what has been done with the survey responses has been a critically important part of this process, and we are committed to continuing this practice to remain accountable to the feedback. We are looking forward to resurveying all staff in the fall of 2019 and making meaningful improvements to foster an engaged, supportive and motivated workforce, and to move forward the strategic priority of Investing in Our Staff.
— Mary (Director, People + Culture)

For example, many of the activities listed below in the ‘Looking Back section’ have been implemented as a result of the feedback that we received.

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improved connectivity of mobile service providers

Improved the connectivity of mobile service providers by upgrading hardware to iPhones and increasing data plans


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revitalized staff recognition initiatives

Revitalized our staff recognition and wellness activities though initiatives such as: “You’re a Superstar,” Values Awards, Service Awards, & “Breakfast with Bruce” outings.


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established a satellite office in the east end

Established a satellite office in the east area of the city to ensure to reduce travel time for service providers.


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launched new cloud-based intranet system

Introduced a new intranet platform to enhance internal connectivity and communication


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increased group health benefits from 70 to 75 years

Improved group health benefits coverage for staff at no additional cost


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72% of clinical staff trained

Invested in designing and implementing an enhanced staff training curriculum for staff


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created a workplan based on staff feedback

Conducted an internal Engagement Survey via AON Hewitt and developed a work plan in relation to identified areas for improvement

 

 
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Reducing Barriers to Efficiency:

We’re reorganizing our existing At Home ACT team service by introducing a second interdisciplinary team, as a result of a recent supportive housing expansion initiative. When this happens, Cota will provide city-wide Housing First Assertive Community Treatment services to individuals living with mental health challenges who are homeless, and involved with the justice system. Each team will cover half of the City of Toronto. This will allow the teams to be more efficient in delivering supports to individuals within their respective geographic areas and enable inter-team transfers to occur, as people move from one area of the city to another.

These two teams will be then be referred to as Cota’s Assertive Housing First Teams.

Improving Care via Digital Health Solutions:

Cota plans to go live with ONE Mail in 2019 and explore the possible adoption and implementation of other digital health solutions with colleague organizations within the emerging Ontario Health Teams, with a view to enabling ease of communication and reducing duplication of data entry across health service providers.


Supporting our Staff to Prepare for Retirement:

Cota will be exploring the possibility of adopting a defined pension plan for our employees, within existing resources, to assist them in preparing for and enhancing their financial stability in retirement.

 
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summary of accomplishments


Cota is very proud of our impact to date in driving necessary system transformation. We are eager to continue to add our valuable experience and expertise in the ever evolving health and social service systems in order to ensure that, collectively, those systems can improve service delivery to people in need within our community.

As an example, the health system in Ontario is undergoing a monumental transformation, lead by the introduction of Ontario Health and the formation of local service delivery systems, referred to as Ontario Health Teams (OHTs), across the province and within Toronto. Given the regional city-wide scope of our services, we are actively involved with multiple emerging OHTs across the city of Toronto and look forward to inspiring positive change through our continued involvement.

In addition, Toronto Community Housing has recognized the need to transform their operations and enlist the support of service providers such as Cota to help meet the needs of their vulnerable tenant populations.

SARAH (RIGHT) GMH CM, COTA | COMMUNITY PARAMEDIC LED CLINIC PARTNERSHIP

SARAH (RIGHT) GMH CM, COTA | COMMUNITY PARAMEDIC LED CLINIC PARTNERSHIP

TCHC is so grateful to have Cota here because of their hands on approach. They actually go into the units and talk with tenants.
— Sheila (Community Service Coordinator Access & Support, TCHC)

The City of Toronto is facing an affordable housing and homelessness crisis. We believe that access to housing is a fundamental human right, a critical social determinant of health and that, if someone does experience an unfortunate episode of homelessness, it should be brief and non-reoccurring.

INDIVIDUALS ENROLLED AT OUR ABI ADULT DAY SERVICE PROGRAM

INDIVIDUALS ENROLLED AT OUR ABI ADULT DAY SERVICE PROGRAM

I want to let you know that Cota’s tenants are the real inspiration to me. They totally rock! I also want to let you know that I am inspired by Cota’s team that work with Cota tenants every single day.
— Miriam Johnston, Manager Supportive Housing & Community Services Unit Mental Health and Addictions Branch Strategic Policy and Planning Division Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care)

 
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480+ tchc tenants served

Expanded our support to tenants of Toronto Community Housing via our involvement in the Community Paramedic Led Clinic and Lawrence East Partnership programs in Scarborough


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280+ tay clients supported

Assumed an enhanced administrative and oversight role from MCCSS in relation to our Transitional Age Youth (TAY) Program


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130+ individuals served by cota’s abi bt services

Contracted by TC LHIN to assume the responsibility of providing a city-wide ABI Behavioural Therapy Service previously delivered by TC LHIN Home and Community Care


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supported toronto alliance to end homelessness (TAEH) efforts

Acted as the Trustee/Host organization for the Toronto Alliance to End Homelessness (TAEH), assumed a Steering Committee role and have been actively contributing to various TAEH work groups and initiatives


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930+ individuals served

Working collaboratively with hospitals to ensure clients receive the right service at the right time in the right place through:

  • our Access to Resources and Community Supports (ARCS) program, a mental health and addictions emergency department diversion service, offered at Humber River Hospital and North York General Hospital

  • our stepped-care arrangement between St. Joseph’s Assertive Community Treatment Team and Cota’s Toronto West Integrated Service Team

 

 
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Playing our Role in Health System Transformation:

As Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) progress through their developmental stages and reach full maturity, Cota will continue to collaborate with our colleagues across the health care system to bridge the gaps, create efficiencies through integrated services and ultimately affect change.


Collaboratively Working with Toronto Community Housing:

We remain committed to supporting Toronto Community Housing as they seek to align supports for their vulnerable tenant populations. We have been working closely with them to discuss their needs and to identify new opportunities to offer our assistance. We remain hopeful that we will be able to implement additional services to TCH tenant groups in the near future.

Ending Chronic Homelessness in Toronto:

We remain dedicated in contributing to the efforts of the TAEH and in creating the necessary system reform required to effectively end chronic homelessness that far too many people in our city experience. This is a complex issue that requires a collective impact approach to address effectively. With over 100 participating organizations/supporters and a formal relationship with the City of Toronto, TAEH is well positioned to influence and affect the changes that are needed.

 
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DEMONSTRATING OUR VALUE
AND ATTRACTING SUPPORT
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summary of accomplishments


Cota is an organization that has been operating for over 45 years. Thus far, our primary focus has been on the provision of excellent service to the people we support and where we quietly spent our time and energy. A focus we will never abandon!

Three years ago, however, we broke the silence and began sharing our story externally.


We know we offer services to the highest possible standard and do great work every day.

We simply want you to know as well.


To date we have engaged with an online community, got loud with national awareness movements, and have begun to develop a broader network of supporters and followers.

Moving forward, as we continue to expand the scale and scope of our ambitions, we are committed to developing new and innovative service solutions in collaboration with our partners. We also recognize that we will need to rely more and more on the generosity of the general public as we step up our efforts to inspire positive change in the lives of the people we support.

We hope that you will consider supporting us in the next chapter of our journey.

PAUL (RIGHT) | INSPIRING CHANGE AWARDS CEEREMONY

PAUL (RIGHT) | INSPIRING CHANGE AWARDS CEEREMONY

We must continue to try to find the inspiration to dream big and the determination to pursue the goals that will allow us to make positive change together.
— Paul Bruce (CEO, Cota)
INDIVIDUALS RECEIVING COTA SERVICES AWARDED FOR THEIR INSPIRING RECOVERY JOURNEY

INDIVIDUALS RECEIVING COTA SERVICES AWARDED FOR THEIR INSPIRING RECOVERY JOURNEY

Leaders are proud of their staff and the work that is done to support the mission of the organization. There is a strong sense of community and mutual respect,
— Executive Summary, Accreditation Canada

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hosted first inspiring change awards event in 2018

Celebrated our 45th anniversary and issued our first ever Inspiring Change Awards in 2018


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22k+ unique people reached

Effectively adopted an across-digital platforms approach to convey the impact that Cota is having on the lives of the people we support and developments within the organization


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awarded a 98.8% accreditation score

Awarded “Accredited with Exemplary Standing” by Accreditation Canada in 2018 (the highest calibre of accreditation status)

 
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Committing to an Ongoing Pursuit of Quality:

While Cota was thrilled to be awarded Accredited with Exemplary Standing, the highest calibre of accreditation status awarded by Accreditation Canada, we view the accreditation process as a continuous quality improvement journey. As such, we plan to stay abreast of emerging best practices and standards of excellence and continue to challenge ourselves to excel in our service delivery and day to day operations.


Engaging our Online Following through a Digital Strategy:

We have made great strides in building awareness about Cota and the positive impact that we are having in the lives of the people we serve and across the service delivery systems in which we operate. We look forward to continuing this momentum into the future as we expand the audience of people who follow developments at Cota and capture the imaginations and hearts of those who may be willing to support us as we press forward in inspiring change.

Be a Part of our Success by Supporting Our Journey:

Cota is heading in an exciting direction and having support from all of you will aid us in accomplishing our (1) strategic goals, (2) affordable housing acquisition and (3) developments and projects. Your dedication, whether it be in the form of a one-time gift, a reoccurring donation, or corporate sponsorship, is absolutely invaluable. Join us as we blaze our way forward and inspire change!

 
I must highlight the attention to staff wellness and work/life balance in Cota throughout the year that help make it all a holistically positive experience. I am looking forward to making many milestones with Cota as I enjoy the journey.
— Marcus (Supportive Housing Worker, Collegeview Program, Cota)
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board of directors

president

Carolyn Cornford

 

past president

Gregory Hendry

 

vice-president

Jeffrey Livingston

 

Treasurer

Alain Mootoo

 

directors

Gregory Banfield

Melanie Towell

Rachel Cooper

Steven Torresan

Leah Dunbar

Karim Bhimji

Lily Yang

Daniela Sota

Aaron Campbell

 

community participants

Dr. Paul Benassi

Saima Awan

executive leadership

chief executive officer

Paul Bruce

 

senior director, clinical operations & quality improvement

Sylvia Starosta

 

director, finance and administration

Matthew Chan

 

director, people + culture

Mary Modeste

 

director, developmental & abi services

Paul Van de Laar

 
Thank God for Cota. Bless Cota. Cota saved my life. And there’s always hope. Hope is free. Just seek out help and keep your head up.
— Robert (individual receiving services)

 

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 Cota’s accomplishments are often the result of formal partnerships and successful collaborations that we have with other organizations. Some of Cota’s key collaborations in fiscal year 2018-2019 involved the following partner organizations:

Fred Victor 

Good Sheppard Non-Profit Homes Toronto

Habitat Services 

Hong Fook Mental Health Association  

Humber River Hospital 

John Howard Society of Toronto 

Mainstay Housing 

North York General Hospital 

Parkdale Community Health Centre

Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities

Second Harvest

St. Joseph’s Health Centre 

St. Michael’s Hospital 

Surrey Place Centre 

Toronto Community Housing Corporation 

Toronto North Support Services 

Toronto Paramedic Services 

Toronto Public Health 

Toronto Public Library 

VHA Home HealthCare 

Vita Community Living Services 

West Park Healthcare Centre

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